tv Nuclear Threats CSPAN January 13, 2018 3:24pm-4:33pm EST
running. that means they think their neighbors and friends and districts are prepared to vote democratic, so they are enthusiastic about running. 17 points i think is correct, .nd it is historically high i think it is amazing but not necessarily surprising, given the environment was has been created in the country. of whatwas just part house minority whip steny hoyer had to say earlier today on "newsmakers." watch "newsmakers" sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> former energy secretary underscore knees now heads the ,uclear threat initiative
involved in denuclearization issues in reducing threats from nuclearization -- former energy secretary ernest moniz. this is an hour. >> is a great opportunity to welcome back to csi s ernie moniz. when he was energy secretary, he was very active with us, and have him talk to with us about anything. he would talk about commercial nuclear energy, and he would come and talk with us about nuclear weapons, but we are lucky now to have him still staying in town, still staying active, and of course, he has become the cochair of the nuclear threat initiative. my old boss, senator sam done, is the cochair with him.
i asked if he wanted to say and a remarks, and he said, "oh, ernieo, i'm going to let do that." charlie curtis, thank you for being here. just as a bit of a safety announcement first, in case, we may hear a voice that says we have an emergency. if that happens, please follow my instructions. we've got an exit right there and one over there that will take us down to the street. we'll go down, take two left hand turns once we get there, go over at "national geographic," by then i'll have hot chocolate waiting for everybody. nothing is going to happen, but i just wanted to let you know. follow my instructions if we need to do anything. i don't think we ever had a more qualified individual to be secretary of energy then ernie moniz.
ernie was, if you could design someone who was perfect for the job, it was ernie. he knew government well. he knew the private sector very well. he had the honesty and objectivity of being in academia where he could reflect on what he saw, both in government and in the private sector. and he brought to the job just enormous energy. i look back and say, those are really golden years for us. of course, he was working through a series of pretty tough issues at the time. and those issues have not gone away. i hope today that we may have an opportunity to hear a little bit about iran, maybe about north korea. with any luck at all, you are going to find this a fascinating afternoon. and let me say, we are delighted to have brent here. anytime brent calms, we know we will have a great meeting. [applause]
now add a little more of that applause and welcome ernie moniz. [applause] ernie: thank you, john. although, i thought you were going to say that the emergency announcement may be coming tomorrow, but maybe that is something we will touch on later on. but i really appreciate the chance to be back here, which has been an effective and respected organization. recognized here and globally in that way. and of course, csis has had very close ties with sam nun. introduced and sam obviously an enormous leader in nuclear security but a great friend and colleague and i now have the privilege of partnering with him on a routine basis that at n.t.i. and work with him in trying to reduce nuclear and other global security threat that nti, which he founded in 2001 along with ted turner.
and sam, i can assure you, remains an extraordinary source of wisdom, so that's great. i have to add, brent scowcroft, since you mentioned being a d.u.e., he was one of the introducers for my nomination, apparently with great sway in the senate, given the results. but i really -- brent is another really great friend. i have the pleasure in a different role of roaming around the same floor with brent scowcroft also quite a few times each week. i will mention charlie curtis, with whom again, very, very long association in government and charlie has dragged themselves -- himself out of retirement to help us in this -- help us in these first periods at n.t.i. so you know, last month, i had the pleasure of speaking at the university of chicago.
it was the 75th anniversary of enrico fermi's first controlled chain reaction. and that was really the launching of the nuclear age, and really the precursor to the manhattan project, which had already started technically, but his work was critical for the manhattan project, and that of course, developed the first nuclear weapons. at that time, as people and this audience almost certainly no, it was already recognized at that time the dual nature of this technology. that on the one hand the potential that was realized of course, to make weapons that quite different from other instruments of war and their destructive power, but also technology that could have many beneficial applications. energy was clearly there from the very beginning but then medicine, industrial applications, etc. so, this duality is something we have been facing life in the
beginning of the nuclear age. and it is that duality, the fact that both of those applications really draw from a common technology base that has challenged both governments and international institutions. so, i have been focusing on this journey for four decades and have committed to extending what i think has been n.t.i.'s outstanding work along with sam and a terrific staff, and the broader national security community -- john, brent, and others who are not in this room. now, if judged only by the metrics that nuclear weapons have not been used since 1945, that nuclear energy provides about a sixth of global electricity that nuclear medicine saves countless lives, we can say that we have enjoyed the peaceful uses of nuclear energy on nuclear technology, while avoiding the use of a nuclear weapon since world war ii.
but that said, i think we've had too many close calls with nuclear weapons, and the number of nuclear weapon states has, of course, grown. so today, now in the 21st century, we are challenged by a different nuclear age, and there are so many dimensions of that. first, i want to say that miscalculation -- and i will be using miscalculation throughout this speech as a brd bucket for accident, mistake, miscalculation, catastrophic terrorism -- so miscalculation, in my view, is th' most likely -- is the most likely catalyst of nuclear use even though deterrence remains paramount, it's not enough. secondly, the sophistication of north korea's nuclear weapons program cannot be deny. -- cannot be denied. third, there are advocates in both russia and the united states for using or threatening to use nuclear weapons in a number of scenarios, the concept of escalate to deescalate continues to make the rounds in
moscow and last month's strategy expand the role of nuclear weapons, deeming them, quote, "essential to prevent nuclear attack, nonstrategic attacks, and large-scale conventional aggression." 9/11 heralded an age of terrorism with global reach, unconstrained by notions of the deterrence and nuclear power and nuclear fuel cycle capabilities are spreading including in , regions rife with rivalries and conflicts. it's a different set of issues we have to think about going forward, which calls for re-examining strategic policies and near-term decisions on the u.s. nuclear arsenal, forced postures, doctrine, and the like. we also need to examine our response to international challenges like iran and north korea, as well as the dangerous state of u.s.-russia relations.
we must not unnecessarily convert significant diplomatic challenges into security crises as seems to be happening today with iran and north korea. we will post a version of these remarks, a longer version of these are marks that n.t.i. but today, i'm just going to start a conversation that we will be having with john and with you with five broad messages, and then a few remarks on the issues du jour, iran, and north korea. so these five points i'd like to make -- first, the combination of advances in technology, tensions between nations, terrorism and cyber dangers, must challenge traditional thinking about nuclear weapons policies, the risk of nuclear weapons use, the configuration and deployment of our forces and the priorities of our investments. maintaining a safe, secure, and reliable deterrent is necessary in today's world but is not sufficient. the risks of miscalculation should be at the forefront of our thinking, and an important driver of our analyses.
secondly, preventing nuclear use is the core objective of our nuclear policy. specifically, when the nuclear posture review surfaces, presumably in a few weeks, we need to assess its recommendations in part by considering whether they lessen the dangers of miscalculation, and thereby increase stability and reduce the risk of nuclear use or not. if the recently released national security strategy is a guide as i said earlier, we could be heading in the wrong direction. i think school is out, and we will see what the npr says, but extending -- but expanding the types of threats against which nuclear weapons might be used under the banner of deterrence likely will make the risk and miscalculations, not less. for those who argue the u.s. needs more usable nuclear options to enhance deterrence, they have a hybrid into explain
-- high burden to explain what the present options are insufficient. the president already has options for flexibly employing the nuclear deterrent. by what logic should we stress that deploying more usable weapons against the backdrop of our current flexibility -- of our current flexible capability and are abilities that make it second to none make it less likely that they will be used? by what logic can we count on nuclear exchange to remain limited? in what way is it being addressed in ways that provide confidence in scenarios with very short decision time? are we about to join those in russia who declare we need to be prepared to escalate to deescalate? what happens if the world's nuclear superpowers start down this road? so these are questions with the kinds -- so these are the kinds of questions i think we need to be hard-nosed in examining the n.p.r. third, the united states and russia have divergent interests in many areas.
russia's backing of the genocidal regime in syria, tampering with our election have increased tensions. the uncertain outcome of the mueller information is also a factor. nevertheless, we remain convinced that we must find a way to resume a strategic relationship, and regularalize dialogue with russia on matters of existential common interest to include nuclear and traditional forces, terrorist acquisition of nuclear weapons, and more. not as a favor to russia. we did this at the height of the cold war. we must do it again. to support this national security imperative, we must forge a bipartisan, joint congress-administration approach to secure issues with russia. especially now that last year's sanctions legislation puts in place shared executive branch and congressional decision making.
sam and i have specifically recommended a liaison group of congressional, state department, and department of defense leadership, simile -- similar in spirit to that formed around arms control issues during the reagan administration. fourth -- the international atomic energy agencies safeguards architecture need strengthening in the 21st century. the iaea is doing a good job monitoring iran's compliance with the jcpoa using an array of knew verification tools provided by that agreement. indeed, verification is really the heart of the jcpoa and it does not sunset. over time, we may be able to consider involving the jcpoa verification regime to more nearly universal application. and fifth, we must make worldwide progress in developing comprehensive, based kabbalah advanced nuclear fuel services, including fuel supply, waste storage and disposition.
without this progress, additional courts, iran's, are likely to present themselves in the future. let me make a few comments about iran and then a few on north korea. on iran, we're on the precipice of a new crisis in iran if the president refuses to approve the sanctions waivers and if the united states, not iran, that fails to meet its commitments under the deal. the iran nuclear deal puts a straitjacket on iran's nuclear activities, discussion of the jcpoa, however, typically misses its most important features. such as the 15-year limitation, that is until january, 2031, during which iran can have no more than 300 kilograms of uranium-enriched up to 3.67%. this is a very, very tight constraint.
and then the enduring verification measures covering every stage of iran's nuclear activities. that is what is often missed and it deserved repeating. the real heart of the jcpoa is in its unprecedented international verification provisions. it's based on verification, not trust. it's ironic that with the jcpoa, iran has the toughest constraints on its nuclear program of any nation on the planet, and the most demanding verification regime. yet the president may take action imminently to remove these constraints with no viable alternative. opponents of the deal are fixated on those provisions on the deal that sunset. they underplay or ignore the importance of the commit. -- of the commitments that don't
expire. a permanent prohibition of iran having a nuclear weapon or weaponization program which is unique. permanent adherence to protocol with a unique time window to respond to iaea inspection requests for undeclared sites. again, unique. and the requirement to ship out all spent fuel for the life of the redesigned iraq reactor, which i remind you, was the heart of the plutonium pathway that caused a lot of consternation. yet, we hear that 15 years is, and i'm derided at n.t.i. for this, epsilon, compared tthe history of the persian empire. that's a fact. but it's entirely manufactured as an objection to the agreement. 15 years is a significant period in the political life of a country and iran, in fact, is demonstrating that with these widespread protests that shine light on the government's failure to adequately serve the people's needs.
the nuclear deal was never meant to be the end of the road in our engagement with iran. we, along with our partners in the jcpoa, should be using this time to build on the agreement to help shape the outcome when the nuclear constraints lift, which so far, we have done brave a little of as we approach in five days, the two-year mark of the agreement implementation. our european partners are stressing this, the foundational nature of the jcpoa, and with the nuclear agreement this place, we can and should be taking action to address iran's support for terrorism, the syrian regime, and its regional proxy the human rights record and other troubling aspects of iranian policy without the complications of the nuclear issue. we should keep the spotlight on the failings of iranian governance and the country's economic situation. indeed, turning up the heat on these issues with our european and regional friends and allies is essential, and reinforces the failings pointed out in the recent protests.
iran needs to respond to popular demands for more rapid modernization. with the jcpoa, iran's leadership cannot easily blame their governance and economic shortcomings on the united states and external forces. we should not give leverage to the most extreme elements in iran by withdrawing from the jcpoa. we must draw lessons from the jcpoa for broader fuel cycle considerations. as we look ahead a few years, we are likely to confront more iran-like circumstances unless we can build verification enhancements to fuel cycle management globally and development better solutions for fuel and waste services. advances in technologies, or in technology, are making weapons capabilities easier to acquire under a safeguards regime that can and should be strengthened to fully meet its purpose. the slow, but steady expansion of interest in nuclear reactors internationally and the uncertainty surrounding the future of u.s. nuclear power are
making it more important than ever to identify, incentivize, and implement an approach to fuel services that reinforces key nonproliferation and nuclear security principles. such an approach supports reliable and economical commercial fuel market, minimize the spread of uranium enrichment capacity, and address the management of irradiated fuel in ways that don't lead to steadily increasing stockpiles of separated plutonium. most important, all these approaches must be back-stopped with international safeguards and monitoring systems that take advantage of technological progress, and at the political and financial resources to back them up. at n.t.i., we are expanding substantially our efforts in this area, and will be seeking to work with public and private partners to operationalize such an approach so that countries can have the benefits of peaceful nuclear technologies without increasing proliferation dangers. the ieae l.e.u. bank is a
foundational step in that direction. as a csis commission concluded several years ago, and my colleagues and i affirmed and expanded on last year, a diminishing united states supply chain is a national security concern both for our standing and maintaining and expanding nonproliferation norms, and for meeting our own national security requirements. so, it is a big effort here on the fuel psych that will be critical if we want to reach our ultimate goals in the nuclear security arena. finally, let me just add a few words on north korea. while the threat has been growing, the president's war of words has managed to unsettle our allies and alarm the rest of the world. blurring the historic recognition that nuclear weapons have destructive power of a different order of magnitude than the most powerful conventional weapons.
in fact, i might just add, i'd like to make a comparison -- the oklahoma city bomb, a big ryder truck, was about two tons of tnt equivalent versus the four orders of magnitude larger blasts of the world war ii bombs, not to mention the additional radiation issues involved with nuclear weapons. so, this cannot be talked about in anything resembling the same way. of course, kim jong un has taken the diplomatic initiative with his outreach to the south and pyongyang's participation in the upcoming winter olympics. now, we've been living for some time with the threat of a nuclear north korea. and that could strike u.s. allies armed forces in the asia pacific region. under kim jong un, the nuclear and missile threat has become more acute as north korea has systematically advanced its nuclear and missile technology.
we have to stop thinking about that -- those tests as provocations as opposed to a systematic and increasingly successful development of those technologies. now there would be a significant benefit to our security, the u.s. and our allies, and a reduction in regional tensions, if we can convince the north of course to pause an then perhaps forego any further testing. of weapons and long-range ballistic missiles. but there is not a long time to capture the benefits of such a pause. more likely than not, achieving that outcome will require direct talks with the north koreans on the path to negotiations. whether there is now an opening for such talks is not clear. some believe kim jong un's new year's day claim that the ballistic missiles have been proved to the full, close quote, opens the door to a freeze on nuclear and long range ballistic missile test.
we need to find a way to probe the north koreans on that point and exploit it, if in fact, there is one. it's also imperative we focus on additional steps to reduce the risks of miscalculation on the korean peninsula, including nuclear use but also the use of devastating conventional forces on both sides of the 38th parallel. unlike in iran, where it made sense to keep negotiations confined to the nuclear program in order to prevent nuclear weapons development, negotiations with pyongyang must address broader issues beyond their declared nuclear deterrent. for talks to succeed, the united
states and china must first share a vision of the ultimate goal, the political, economic, and security arrangements that can form the foundation of a more stable korean peninsula. that shared vision with beijing must be built on a strong foundation and framework of consultations between the united states, south korea, and japan, and other key parties like russia. we must be prepared to engage beijing on its real security concerns. and there are tough questions. reunification of the korean peninsula is not an attainable goal for the foreseeable future. how does that play in? the future regional posture of u.s. military forces is a critical piece of the puzzle. there is little public evidence, at least, that sufficiently encompassing discussions of this type have taken place. in concluding, there's no doubt the united states continues with a unique responsibility and imperative to the dance at the right course. the nuclear policy and posture washington sets in the coming weeks, actually days and weeks, will determine america's path for the next years in decisions on russia, iran, and the dprk potentially for decades.
since the npt, the nuclear nonproliferation treaty entered into force, eight american potts, both parties, have reaffirmed our legal obligation to work with other nuclear weapons states to divest themselves of nuclear weapons over time. it's it's essential that the n.p.r. back that up with practical, concrete steps toward achieving that goal. the best way to reduce and eliminate the risk of miscalculation and nuclear use is to work steadily to define, and then walk the long, tortuous, path to eliminating nuclear weapons. and there's a lot of head room for diplomacy. thank you. [applause] john: wow, ernie, you have given us a lot of wonderful material to kind of guide us with our
thoughts today. i am going to spend a little time to ask some questions, and i'm going to go out on all of you to really bring the meeting alive. you mentioned several times the nuclear posture review. i think the question largely that we are waiting to hear is -- does theion russian development of micro nuclear weapons require us to build comparable weapons for deterrence -- what do you think about that question? ernie: first of all, let me repeat the four orders of magnitude. because micro in this context has to be remembered as still a nuclear weapon. john: right. ernie: number one. number two, as i said, i think the test is -- i don't know what
is in the npr, but if there's something that goes in that direction, i hope there's sufficient analysis, analysis-backed statement as to why this contributes to stability, why it reduces the possibility of use? i have not seen that argument made convincingly at all. we have a flexible deterrent, as i have emphasized. i think there are many ways of repositioning it, perhaps. but again, so john, my answer is, i am open to hearing an argument that i have not yet heard to convince me that's a positive path. john: traditionally, we have said in this country, we don't
want to build a warhead that we don't want to use. but what happens if our opponent is building a warhead that's usable? i think that's a debate we're going to have in the country. and like you, i think we need to see the proposal and see the analysis. ernie: it has to be made very, very clear. we have a deterrent against the use of any nuclear weapon against us or our allies. john: you said something that, i must admit, my failing to not have appreciated this before, is the verification agreement with iran in jcpoa is eternal. that's interesting. would you -- ernie: on verification? john: on verification. would you amplify on that? i don't think many americans caught that. ernie: so, first of all, there's a layered set of verification measures.
for example, and all of which are completely unique to iran. in fact, the me preface that by saying, in the negotiation, well, at least when dr. salahy, head of their nuclear program and i, were brought into the negotiation parallel with the foreign ministers, john kerry and sarif, that really early on, we had to establish, there is no argument over whether or not the international community has a high degree of distrust of the iranian nuclear program. the facts on the ground tell you that. the fact that the u.s. and russia, post-ukraine, were negotiating together, tells you that. the point of that is, therefore, right up front, it had to be made clear, there would need to be extraordinary verification measures for there to be any
help of an acceptable agreement, ok? so then, there are a hole variety of things. i will mention, for example, 20 years of surveillance of the manufacture of critical centrifuge parts. 25 years of uranium supply chain verification. but now getting to some forever stuff, the -- iran commits to the additional protocol for those who are not familiar, probably few in this audience, but the initial protocol is what gives the iaea the opportunity to inspect undeclared nuclear sites that, for which they have reason to be suspicious. that is a voluntary agreement with various countries. iran is required to be in the
additional protocol forever. but there is even more. with the additional protocol, the voluntary additional protocol, as it is exercise now with any other country, there is no time limit. the iaea says i think that facility, let me make it clear, which could be a military facility, gives us pause and we have some reasons. great. there's no time limit for when the access is actually granted. in the iran agreement, there is. there's a 14-day period in which iran and the iaea must work out the terms of the access. if they cannot reach those terms in 14 days, there's 10 more days for the access to happen or they
are in violation of the jcpoa. this is a very, very powerful constraint. and it's almost never mentioned in the discussion. number 1 and number 2, imagine, that's the kind of constraint we would give up if we were to unilaterally walk away from this agreement while iran is complying. john: if we were to walk away from jcpoa, what will the other negotiating parties do? ernie: i don't know, john, it is hard to speculate, but i think there are two different example scenarios. one scenario obviously is iran says, ok. deal is done. and we will resume our nuclear activities as we wish.
no 300 kilogram limit new york centrifuge limit, etc. and then the question would become, would we be able, having been the ones to precipitate the failure, would we be able to once again marshal in its national -- and it's marshal the international community for sanctions on the regime? i doubt we'd reach the one we had before, but that would be the issue. the other scenario, there are others, obviously, but the other scenario is iran and the three european country, e.u., china, and russia, all agree to proceed with the agreement, but recognizing that this is voluntary. ok. we will voluntarily do this with our friends. well, one thing is, of course, we managed to isolate ourselves completely to have no seat at the table. no seat with the joint commission. no seat with the -- another thing which is unique a
procurement channel, so any dual-use items have to go through a process with the p-5 plus one. the -- we are isolated, and then i think there is a real issue how religiously would a voluntary agreement be pursued or followed over time? as a roshan could be setting -- as erosion could be setting in. especially because the verification measures are unique. john: all right. ernie: and as an aside, if i may answer a question you didn't ask, but i alluded to it obliquely, is one reason why one of the many threads that we want to pursue in looking at the nuclear fuel cycle globally is a threat of, can we get some of those verification measures adopted voluntarily by other countries?
they would greatly strengthen the global safeguards regime, and would frankly, put some pressure on iran to in fact continue with its program. john: several times in your speech and just now, you talked about the role that commercial speech and just now, you talked about the role that commercial nuclear energy plays as an indispensable kind of dimension of a proliferation control regime. and russia has become such a major supplier, participant in this global system you mentioned that we've got to find ways to work together. things are tough right now where there's such hostility. is there a window or -- from your conversations with russians, is there a window of possibility to discuss nuclear safeguards, nuclear control, fuel cycle?
is that all in the realm of something we could talk to russia about these days? assuming we wanted to? ernie: it would be very, very difficult. there are many things we can and should discuss with russia, i'll give you an example of something that occurred last may, with n.t.i., it was a catalyst for a meeting with department of energy, iaea and the central asian republics and a group from russia to discuss dirty bombs, how one might identify, secure and eventually replace things like medical sources that could be used as dirty bomb materials. that's something of clear mutual interest in a part of the world for which one should be concerned about this kind of thing.
there's a whole string of things that we can be discussing right now with them that involve nuclear security. i think right now, frankly, until we get past our significant problems between u.s. and russia right now, i think commercial power would be very tough. but going back to, frankly, when i was undersecretary, in the clinton years, and all the way through up to ukraine, that was the area the russians really wanted to collaborate with us on. the commercial fuel cycle. and we certainly had lots of complementary skill sets and capabilities we could draw on. frankly, this is one of those things that is an irrelevant footnote of history. but i can again use epsilon, we
were within epsilon of getting a terrific agreement done. i got it again. done at the end of the clinton administration. anyway, it didn't work. and it's unfortunate. it would have had all these elements of fuel cycle and fuel services that we been trying to advocate for. john: we're going to spin the globe and put our finger on the korean peninsula. this is obviously a dangerous situation. north korea has had nuclear weapons for 10 years. they're developing much more sophisticated delivery capabilities. candidly, our allies, south korea and japan are questioning whether extended deterrence represents a real guarantee any longer. they won't say it during the first round of drinks, it usually takes several rounds of drinks before they get to it but
at some point they say we need to have our own retaliatory capability. what -- let's put you back in office, what are -- what would you be saying to our allies about the confidence they ought to have in us? ernie: first of all, what i would not be saying is that the, especially at the current level of development of long range intercontinental ballistic missile technology and i mean, by what i mean right now at least is i'm certainly one of those who does not believe that there is the capability for an integrated system to actually deliver the package effectively over long distances. but what i would not be saying is that this is the game changer
because they have to be -- we have to assume they have the capability right now, they've had the capability, to deliver those weapons in much shorter range, missiles that certainly threaten south korea and japan, not to mention all of our own military families and the like who are there. so i can't say that i find the dialogue having been terribly well thought through up to now. then with regard to what one would say, i think it's the framework that i again alluded to briefly that we need to have much broader security discussions with korea, japan and south -- with south korea, japan, an china in particular,
to scope out what is the kind of acceptable security structure for them and then presumably for north korea, because i think that we're going to have to have a real step by step march through talks before we get to negotiations which will have to be multilateral and i don't think we have that security posture mapped out for the entire region. john: do you think we can count on deterrence to handle north korea? ernie: well, look. we are -- whether we want to say it or not, we are in a deterrence posture. and i certainly do not think we should give up on the vision of a nuclear-free peninsula. but that's going to be a long haul and so we better get used to thinking about how we're
going to manage, certainly military solution, quote, solution, at the moment, looks like, in fact, secretary mattis said that, it looks to be a horrible, horrible option. so i think it's a question of first of all, really enforcing sanctions that are already on the books which again i think can happen without that bigger condominium in terms of the security architecture and and then that's how one moves forward, i think. john: ok, colleagues -- rnie: another thing out say, a
lot of people in this room know, a great expert in this, and just had a discussion recently and he's working up some interesting analytics, reinforced this case that the buildup of the north korean nuclear weapons and missile capabilities has been a quarter century pretty much steady march toward these capabilities with maybe some acceleration under the current national leader and the corollary to that is, you don't unwind that very quickly either. so we've -- i think we need to think of a long game here with no nuclear use and no major conventional use, of course, at the 38th parallel, as the long game going through deterrence to eventual hopefully rejoining of north korea with the international community and denuclearization. john: i'm going to ask, identify yourself, no long questions, i'll cut you off ruthlessly and make fun of you if you do a long
question. right here, third from the back. identify yourself, stand up so we can see. >> thank you for your remarks and your work. my question is about the iaea and you mentioned its important role with the jcpoa. could you assess its capability to fulfill that role and also as an international organization how vulnerable it is to politicization. ernie: first, i think the iaea is doing a very good job in iran. it's a heavy load for the organization. they have had to -- they have a lot more boots on the ground than they ever had, supplemented by the additional technologies that the jcpoa allowed them to
employ, cameras and seals and all kinds of things. in terms of capabilities, i feel, i always have felt and feel today quite confident in their abilities. there is part of that confidence stems from the fact that our, i mean, our national, the d.u.e. national laboratories, are very significant participants in the training of inspectors in terms of the technologies. so i think it's a question of sustaining support for the agency. in fact, whether it's the agency or whether it is the employment of national means, trying to understand what's going on, what i've sometimes said is, as an example, i've got great news for you. we just got you 25 years of surveillance of the uranium
supply chain. the bad news is, you've got to stick to it for 25 years. i mean, so -- there's also frankly leadership issues of making sure that these issues of verification, transparency in iran over a long time period, that the commitment is sustained. and that's not -- that's financially but it goes beyond financially. it has to remain a priority, otherwise those verification tools will not have the intended effect over time. john: forgive me for jumping on this answer but iaea is one of the most underappreciated assets we have. the defense department fails to recognize how important they are. this row here.
>> right now, i am working at u.s.-korean institute of science. my question is about the difference between framework and the jcpoa. it seems to me that the framework in terms of verifications and give and take and others. iranian is that documents are very technically sophisticated. you mentioned the verification process is multilayered. technically very advanced. my question is, how do you think the role of nuclear scientist groups role in the nuclear negotiation?
i mean my understanding is that you know scientists led by you played a significant role in iranian negotiation. thank you. ernie: well, actually, my friend graham allison at the harvard kennedy school, is trying to develop a theme that's relevant to your question of so-called science, or scientists as diplomats. and so first let me say that i think the role of science in negotiations has always been very important. and in fact, on the jcpoa, for example, i mean, i became a negotiator in parallel with the
secretary of state in february, 2015. but the department of energy was involved in those negotiations all the time. because there had to be constant analysis of options, etc. so you know, to be honest, you know, the rather unique situation that developed in jcpoa put more of a spotlight on it. but -- and it was different to actually be the -- be a negotiator as opposed to a supporter for the negotiations. so in this particular case, it proved to be, first of all, fortuitous. that the quote, heads of the nuclear programs in the two countries both had the requisite technical background not to mention both having m.i.t. connections was extremely helpful as well. and -- but what i don't know and with graham, graham will be
following this and thinking through, are there other major negotiations where actually having appropriately trained and high enough political level people, scientists, doing the negotiation itself, it's not obvious. i frankly just don't know whether it is a one-off or something that can be much more important in other domains, climate negotiations or things of the like. john: i thought gigahertz was a french car rental company. i think defense guys need scientists. ernie: right. [laughter] >> hi. there seems to be a lot of focus on missile technology but what's to say north korea hasn't already smuggled a weapon in? ernie: that's really important and my colleague, sam nun, may want to respond to that, it's a favorite theme of his, there are
much more crude delivery systems and the crude delivery systems can also develop -- can also deliver cruder weapons. because you don't have the same kind of constraints that you have for a long-range missile. that's correct and furthermore, a -- i don't want to get carried away with this but certainly a crude delivery system may allow one to at least provide more ambiguity as to the return address. john: would you like to comment on this? i know this is something you spent a lot of time on. bring a microphone to senator nunn. >> i don't have any rebuttal to ernie's excellent speech, but i've been concerned about delivery systems where you don't
have a return address for a long time. i think we've moved into an era where catastrophic nuclear terrorism is much more possible, and all the nuclear powers, no matter how much we disagree on a lot of things have a similar box in.re in i think deterrence, even if it's safe, secure, and reliable, and that's what it's got to be, and survivable, as ernie said is not nearly enough. we are in a different era now. you've got attributions problems, cyberproblems, possibility of simulated attacks that are false. you've got the whole question of protecting nuclear materials because the scientific knowledge is out there. not a piece of cake to make a crude weapon.
but just imagine the dilemma if the -- if the north koreans announced, or any other nuclear country announced in great tension that they had a crude weapon on a ship, guess which port it's in, or they have a nuclear weapon in a tunnel or basement. it may not be true but how do you disprove it? and what's the reaction wherever the basement is allegedly located? those are things we've got to consider. i think i've said a lot of times we're in a race between cooperation and catastrophe. when i say we, i mean the nuclear powers. even those that are under considerable strains now like the united states and russia. there are a lot of mutual existential interests. >> go right next to the camera. please stand up and identify yourself. >> we can't hear you. >> i'm a visiting fellow. and i would like to draw your comments on the current nuclear
development in south asia. and do you think that pakistan has the fastest nuclear program in the world and what are your comments on the nuclear development in india? >> talking about nuclear power development in southeast asia? oh, weapons development. pakistan and india in particular? it's a situation that one of the clear cases of concern about this miscalculation, again broadly defined miscalculation as a root to a bad outcome. we know about the deployment of
badly misnamed of tactical nuclear weapons, which is a misnomer. thatdalia -- the idea battlefield use could come in is exactly the kind of escalation we were talking about. i might add that that is not the only case in pakistan and india. but in many of the cases that are of concern, we are talking about situations of asymmetric conventional military capabilities. and that ends up providing a lot of the impetus. and i might add that at the height of the cold war, the shoe was on the other foot as we had our concerns with the iron curtain and mechanized units rolling over.
that reinforces the point made in the korea context. i think a lot of these discussions focus too much only on the nuclear threat and not on the overall security context which is often driving the the possible instability. right in theme for back, you're going to get the benediction. >> maybe shifting over to the middle east, what are your thoughts on a potential u.s.-saudi bilateral cooperation without the gold standard with the prohibition on enrichment and reprocessing, particularly in light that the u.s. is competing in the international markets against the chinese. >> thank you for the question.
we have seen the reports that there are discussions going on for a one, two, three agreement that will not have all of the features of the gold standard that the emirates have signed up for. number one, i think we have to first of all give great credit to the emirates and their posture. in the nonproliferation world. i might add a little bit of home advertising that the bank that i nunn was earlier, sam thatential and emphasized the emirates were one of the countries that provided funds to build the bank. they have the gold standard. they deserve a tremendous amount what they are doing and hopefully will do in this context.
have known for a long time, certainly in the middle east, it is not just saudi arabia. i was involved in these discussions years ago with jordan and issues with egypt, etc. they said we have no intention of developing these fuel cycle facilities but were not prepared to write this off in perpetuity. my argument would be, why don't we focus on what we are trying to get at and think creatively about how to do that? that i was an author on some years ago with dan, who was a member of the group with arnie cantor and john deutsche. we said look, one way to look at
this, you could provide special fuel cycle services to a country for a contracted period of time during which period they would not do enrichment or reprocessing. that is just one example. you basically -- it was a time limited gold standard. but it gets around some of the issues of quote, permanently rejecting opportunities. with that, i think comes other incentives that one could put in , for example and our paper we had the idea that we could , thert their participation third countries participation in real advanced nuclear reactor department program. reprocessingt, not
that would be fine. i think there are a whole lot of ways of packaging this that can accomplish the goal, even if it is not a quote gold standard. and i would end by saying what i 2013, weier in 2012, did that and we published a paper last year that i do believe it is very important for the united states to try to rebuild, certainly preserve and rebuild our nuclear supply chain. that was the foundation of being able to shape our nonproliferation regime so effectively. let's face it, we are not in great shape already. it's going to get a lot worse if we are frozen out of enormous regions of the world like the middle east where russia has at
least tentative or some form of , saudits with iran arabia, egypt, with jordan, with turkey. so i think you have to look at this in a multi dimensional way to achieve our overall security objectives. john: we have 210 nuclear reactors in america. half of them are powering cities and half of them are on navy ships. it is going to be a hell of a lot harder to support our navy if our nuclear center goes down. rnie: i think the key issue on the supply chain is the nonproliferation position that we need to sustain. but as john said, there are a friday of national security
needs that are either hard to like the modular reactors that are deployed on ships on the water and under the also we do not have the capability today to meet our need for fuel for those reactors, nor for producing what we need in our stockpile. we are living off of stockpiles that are sitting in the closet right now. that cannot go on forever. for these purposes, for national security purposes, we need american technology. the clock is ticking.
john: i'm going to use my privileged asked one last question. the national security strategy that came out a couple weeks ago. to crossme reference domain deterrence. the question is, is it plausible to deter nuclear weapons by threatening a cyber attack on somebody? plausiblesely, is it to threaten nuclear retaliation if somebody does a cyber attack on us. is any of that plausible? ernie: it was certainly in the national security strategy. the entire broadening of the landscaper nuclear deterrence is a fundamental step in the wrong direction, a really bad one.
it had conventional things, and that it had cyber things. cyber has its own special challenges. i must say, on cyber, first of all, having read only the unclassified defense cyber border reports on nuclear command and control did not leave one feeling comfortable about what might be in the classified -- i haven't read it. but i think the idea of nuclear deterrence of cyber attacks, broadly, does not make any sense. that is where we need to have discussions and they will be very, very tough. probably initially with russia but it has to be broader than some kind of cyber
hygiene in the nuclear command-and-control world good -- in the nuclear command-and-control world. because this is really dangerous and the real concern is between u.s. and russia, it could be a third party doing the cyber deception. john: that is very dangerous. ernie: we have been gearing up a program at some level for a year and a half, it is a critical problem. john: colleagues, ernie's speech will be up tomorrow at the website. an even longer version.
you have first rights. i cannot take notes fast enough. go take a look at it tomorrow. ernie, thank you for this. you are very helpful. we do have a reception outside. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]